Friday, April 30, 2010

The May Pole

The May PoleTitle: Photography as a fine art: the achievements and possibilities of photographic art in America. Author: Charles Henry Caffin. Publisher: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1901. Original from: Harvard University. Digitized: Jul 5, 2007. Length: 191 pages.

Photo by Clarence Hudson White (April 8, 1871 – July 7, 1925) an American photographer and a founding member of the Photo-Secession movement. He is recognized as a master of the art form for his sentimental portraits and for his excellence as a teacher of photography.
The maypole is a tall wooden pole traditionally of maple, hawthorn or birch erected to celebrate May Day. It may be a semi-permanent feature, standing year-round until it has to be repainted or replaced, or it may be temporary. It may be decorated with coloured ribbons suspended from the top, flowers, draped in greenery, hung with wreaths or other symbols or decorations, depending on local and regional traditions.

This Image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1923 are copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published before 1923 ,in this case 1901, are now in the public domain.

This file is also in the public domain in countries that figure copyright from the date of death of the artist (post mortem auctoris in this case Clarence Hudson White (April 8, 1871 – July 7, 1925), and that most commonly runs for a period of 50 to 70 years from December 31 of that year.

Shop Update!

Shop update
I finally had time to update ye ole shop with ten new & not so new (new format) prints.
New prints at my shop
Click here to go and have a peek :)

Time After Time

"What does history look like? How do you draw time?

While historical texts have long been subject to critical analysis, the formal and historical problems posed by graphic representations of time have largely been ignored. This is no small matter; graphic representation is among our most important tools for organizing information.

Yet, little has been written about historical charts and diagrams. And, for all of the excellent work that has been recently published on the history and theory of cartography, we have few examples of what Eviatar Zerubavel has called 'time maps'. This book is an attempt to address that gap."

From the Introduction to: 'Cartographies of Time - A History of the Timeline', 2010, by Daniel Rosenberg and Anthony Grafton, published by Princeton Architectural Press [Papress]

{all images below were scanned from this book with permission}

Cartographies of Time by Rosenberg + Grafton: 005
Beginning in the second half of the 17th century, some chronologers concentrated their efforts on simply producing educational material rather than trying to chase down perennially elusive dates such as the great flood and the founding of Rome. Historical dates that school children were expected to master were compiled into evocative graphic chronologies by way of memory aids.

Prints featuring novel allegorical figures appear in Johannes Bruno's 1672 'Universal History'. They represent the seventeen centuries of the common era (AD), and the four millennia stretching from creation to the birth of Christ. The bear above corresponds to the 1st century AD, and other era/epoch prints were based on a camel (signifying the Exodus), oil bottle, eagle and dragon, for example.

The print field includes small drawings of important people from history performing tasks that hint at why they were famous. Sometimes these drawings are accompanied by a rebus or riddle, along with the date in a logical chronological progression. In this way, the student was given a range of historical data in an attractive format intended to promote retention and recall. But, as some contemporary critics noted, with the important facts actually bound up in secondary, superfluous elaborations, the amount of useful information remembered was debatable.

Cartographies of Time by Rosenberg + Grafton: 003
'Statua Danielis Prophetæ'

The unknown artist who illustrated Lorenz Faust's 1585 'Anatomia Statuae Danielis' did a brilliant job of locating the rulers of the four great world monarchies on appropriate parts of the statue's armour. By doing so, the artist gave vivid expression to Daniel's prophecy and provided students with a splendid memory aid. His accompanying text identified all the rulers listed in the image and explained exactly why their names were placed where they were.

[The Old Testament figure of Daniel revealed that four empires would rule the world by turns. He wrote that a statue of an enormous human appeared in a vision to the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, which serves here as an ingenious graphical device for recording a biblical world chronology. As an example of the layers of detail and symbolism presented, the Persian Darius was assigned to the lungs because the Jews could 'breathe easy' during his reign.]

Cartographies of Time by Rosenberg + Grafton: 002
[Small detail from a monumental multi-woodblock print: see full print here -
if anyone knows of a larger complete version, please let me know]

The wall-sized triumphal arch by Albrecht Dürer was produced in ~1516 for the Hapsburg Emperor Maximilian I. He used arresting printed materials like this to establish the genealogy of his house and the authority of his imperial throne, both of which were actually newer and shakier than he was willing to admit.

Maximilian's courtiers were charged with researching the Hapsburg ancestry and they were able to demonstrate a lineage that included the Trojan warrior Hector, the Egyptian God Osiris and even Noah himself. The triumphal arch (which was never intended as an actual building design) verified for anyone who viewed it that Maximilian I was not only a great man, but the culmination of all world history.

Cartographies of Time by Rosenberg + Grafton: 007
'Spiegazione della Carta Istorica dell'Italia'
(Historical map of Italy) by Girolamo Andrea Martignoni

In several finely engraved charts published in 1721, Martignoni made a striking visual analogy between geographic space and historical time. Though he calls them maps, Martignoni's works are not historical maps in the conventional sense of geographical snapshots from different moments in history: they are chronological charts presented in cartographic form.

While at first glance, the map seems to depict a circular territory with a great lake in the centre and rivers running outwards, a closer inspection reveals that the landforms and rivers aren't actually geographical features as we usually know them; rather, they're temporal metaphors: territories of history and rivers of time.

The streams at the top of the chart represent the nations conquered by the Roman Empire; those at the bottom, the nations that emerged from it; and the great central lake as the Empire itself. Martignoni's influential work offered one of the first systematic visualisations of the 'stream-of-time' metaphor.

Cartographies of Time by Rosenberg + Grafton: 006

The aptly named 'Discus Chronologicus', published in the early 1720s by the German engraver Christoph Weigel, is a volvelle*: a paper chart with a pivoting central arm. The basic organisation of data is inherited from Eusebius (4th cent. scholar who established sophisticated table structures to present and reconcile historical chronologies), but here the layout is circular with rings representing kingdoms and radial wedges representing centuries. The names of the kingdoms are printed on the moveable arm. Although graphically attractive, Weigel's volvelle left little room for any handwritten additions of new information, in contrast to a tabular format.

Cartographies of Time by Rosenberg + Grafton: 010
'A Chronological Chart of the Visions of Daniel and John', printed by Joshua Himes in 1842, integrates the visual logic of the timeline, chronological calculus and apocalyptic symbolism in a single scheme. The final date in the left-hand column, 1843, indicates the coming of the end of the world.

This infographic is based on the religious revivalist predictions of the New England minister, William Miller. From the 1830s, Miller's followers produced stirring books, pamphlets, broadsides and innovative graphics to spread the word of the coming apocalypse, often displayed and distributed at popular camp meetings.

Cartographies of Time by Rosenberg + Grafton: 008
A.D. 337 At The Death of Constantine

The concept of an historical atlas as a collection of geographical maps showing snapshots of the world at different dates in history is exemplified in Edward Quin's 'An Historical Atlas', first published in 1828.

Quin's book of maps demonstrated the divisions of the global political landscape at different moments in history, with the receding clouds device indicating the extent of the world known to the West at each particular point in time. The series begins in near darkness and, as we move through history (page through the atlas), the clouds roll back to reveal more and more of the known world.

Cartographies of Time by Rosenberg + Grafton: 013

'The Wheel of Fashion' by JJ Grandville
IN: 'Un Autre Monde: Transformations, Visions ... et Autre Choses', 1844.

Since the 18th century, the timeline has become such a commonplace expression of historical relationships that it blends into the cultural background. But what is notable about the function of the timeline in modernity is that it operates so seamlessly in the graphic background, organising and structuring other forms of graphic representation, as if it weren't even there.

In the modern historical imagination, the timeline plays a special role: it appears as a graphic instantiation of history itself.

Our attention is really only drawn to the timeline form when ingenious artists, such as Grandville, subvert and mock our presuppositions about graphic representation of historical time. Works such as these point to both change and persistence in the problem of chronological representation - to the vitality of the forms created by pioneering chronologists and to the conceptual difficulties that they continue to present.

Cartographies of Time by Rosenberg + Grafton: 001

In the 1860s, the French engineer Charles Joseph Minard devised a number of new and influential infographic techniques. Among the most famous of his charts from this period is the 1869 'Carte Figurative des Pertes Successives en Hommes de l'Armée Française dans les Campagne de Russie 1812-1813 Comparées à celle d'Hannibal durant la 2ème Guerre Punique'.

The two diagrams, published together, show the size and attrition of the armies of Hannibal in his expedition across the Alps during the Punic wars and of Napoleon during his assault on Russia. The coloured band in the diagrams indicates the the army's strength in numbers - in both charts, one millimetre in thickness represents ten thousand men. The chart of Napoleon's march includes an indication of temperature as well.

Cartographies of Time by Rosenberg + Grafton: 009

'A Chronological, Historical and Biographical Chart' (1807) by Stephen and Daniel Dod takes the form of a tree growing up. This (and also the image below) is a variation on a very influential graphic style of chronology devised in 1804 by the Austrian Friedrich Strass. His 'Strom der Zeiten' (Stream of Time) originates with a storm at the top [see the image below] and events through history ebb and flow, twist and fork to form an immense and flexible visual metaphor.
"EXPLANATION - This Chart exhibits a Chronological view of the most memorable events of all the principal nations of the world, from the earliest times, as far as they are recorded in history. The reader will observe - That it rises like a Tree, having for its root, the first Man from whom the different nations take their rise, like branches growing out of the parent stock. And each Branch continues to represent the nation whose name is inserted at the bottom, till a division takes place, which is represented by a corresponding division of the branch.

Where a nation is incorporated with another, or loses its national existence, the branch by which it is represented loses itself in the absorbing limb, or is entirely amputated and lost; and where a cluster of leaves obscures the origin of a branch, it denotes a want of authentic history of the origin of the nation it represents. The horizontal lines that cross the Chart represent time, and at their terminations are placed their respective dates, commencing with the Mosaic account of the creation, 4004 years before the Christian Era, and rising in retrogradation of numbers to the birth of CHRIST: from where the dates are continued according to the common reckoning.

And in the [?]species/aspect are placed the names of the contemporary Sovereigns, with a small perpendicular line at the right of each name where history will justify the accuracy to denote the length of time each reigned. On the right side of the Chart is a biographical table of eminent men; and where a letter is added, it is the initial of the name of the country where they respectively flourished. The whole collated with care, from a variety of ancient and modern history." [text from bottom of print]

Cartographies of Time by Rosenberg + Grafton: 014
William Bell's translation of Friedrich Strass's 'Strom der Zeiten'
(Stream of Time), this copy published in 1849.

Bell shared Strass's belief that the previous geometrical and regular organisation of linear chronological charts implied a uniformity in the processes of history that was misleading:
"However natural it may be to assist the perceptive faculty, in its assumption of abstract time, by the idea of a line ... it is astonishing that ... the images of a Stream should not have presented itself to any one ... The expressions of gliding, and rolling on; or of the rapid current, applied to time, are equally familiar to us with those of long and short. Neither does it require any great discernment to trace ... in the rise and fall of empire, an allusion to the source of a river, and to the increasing rapidity of its current, in proportion with the declivity of their channels towards the engulfing ocean.

Nay, this metaphor ... gives greater liveliness to the ideas, and impresses events more forcibly upon the mind, than the stiff regularity of the straight line. It's diversified power likewise of separating the various currents into subordinate branches, or of uniting them into one vast ocean of power ... tends to render the idea by its beauty more attractive, by its simplicity more perspicuous, and by its resemblance more consistent." [William Bell]

Cartographies of Time by Rosenberg + Grafton: 011

This detail image constitutes about 1/10 of
John Sparks' elongated chart from 1931: 'The Histomap'

Many of the most appealing chronological charts come from amateurs, trained in neither chronology nor art. The beautiful 'Histomap', for example, a strong seller for Rand McNally for over fifty years after its debut in 1931, was not the creation of a trained historian.

Its author, John Sparks, was the American plant manager for the Swiss-owned Nestlé Corporation during the inter-war period. He was a history buff, and because his work required that he travel long distances by train, he always carried with him a history book and a blank note pad. While he travelled, he filled his pads with names and dates scrawled in ballpoint. When he returned home, he cut his notes into slips and pasted them onto a massive chart for his own reference.

Explaining his efforts, Sparks cited the philosophers Alfred North Whitehead and Herbert Spencer as influences. From the first, he drew the notion that graphic methods offered a means of integrating quantitative and qualitative studies; from the second, the credo that modern life requires even more strenuous efforts at managing information. "When a man's knowledge is not in order," Spencer wrote, "the more of it he has, the greater will be his confusion of thought."

The notion that someone else might be interested in Sparks' homemade chart came as a happy surprise, as did the strong visual effect of its published version. Once he had the taste for charts, he never lost it. He eventually published two further charts: 'Histomap of Religion' and the more ambitious 'Histomap of Evolution: Earth, Life and Mankind for Ten Thousand Million Years'.

Cartographies of Time 019

Time, chance and fortune are recurrent themes in the work of the Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping. In his 'Carte du Monde' (2000-2007), a dated chronology of future disasters unravels across the spiralling strip of an eviscerated globe.

Note: The majority of the writing above is either quoted or paraphrased - and possibly mangled - from the image captions and text, or directly from the prints themselves, in 'Cartographies of Time'.

A couple of weeks ago at the book talk/release party at Cabinet Magazine for Dan Rosenberg and Tony Grafton's 'Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline', Professor Grafton offered up his reasoning for why this unusual subject matter intrigued them both {and by extension, perhaps, why it might be of interest to the audience and to the reading public}. [The audio of the event is here and is highly recommended]

Professor Grafton essentially said that after years of hard work, he and his co-author came to regard timelines as endlessly weird and fascinating documents. Rich and complicated backstories emerged relating to the evolution of the genre's visual grammar as they discovered and studied more and varied timelines. And that actual process of exploration of the material corresponds to the timeline of their book.

That's a suitably odd concept. I've found over the last few weeks with this book - my own minor timeline - that it's virtually impossible not to become at least a little philosophical contemplating those questions from the introduction, what does history look like? and how do you draw time? It is both a scholarly history book (but very readable) and a fun visual encyclopaedia with hundreds of flawlessly reproduced images (the scans above don't do them sufficient justice, believe me). I haven't 'read' read the book yet because I've been happy enough so far just to randomly look at the pictures (with magnifying glass at the ready: it's the nature of the material) and hunt down in the text the corresponding stories and characters and motivations behind them.

This is the best book I've seen in years and if the nice people at Princeton Architectural Press had not sent me a review copy, I would happily have paid them double the very reasonable list price of $50 for the book. This is a keeper.

'Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline' 2010 by Daniel Rosenberg and Anthony Grafton 272pp is available from the publisher or Amazon (discounted).

UPDATE: Also see -- Timeline Visualizations: A Brief and Incomplete Teleological History Part One & Part Two.

Friday Finds with Lorelei: Soften it up!

This week I have pulled together a nice selection of beautiful textile options for your current jewelry designs.  A little bit of ribbon or lace, will help soften up your designs and romanticize your overall look! I chose a little bit of everything and even threw in some leather, felted wool and linen cording too. HAPPY SHOPPING!

1. Mixed Mini doilies: FreshVintageCrafts
2. Frayed Rosettes: FreshVintageCrafts
3. Yellow Cotton Crochet lace: HennyTJ
4. Balance Handspun Yarn- SimplyTwisted
5. Abalone Hand Dyed silk cord- TandZSupplies
6. Carnival Swirl Felt balls- TaraTaraTara
7. Fiber Beads- EBrown2503
8. Lace Trims- SimplyCardsbyChan
9. Pom Pom Trim in Pink- Junqueart
10.  Aqua Seam Binding- Junqueart
11. French Stamped Seam binding- ALittleScrappy
12. Sage Green Leather lace- LilysOffering
13. Chocolate Brown Leather cording- PetiteSpoon
14. Natural Torsion Lace- UniqueShiny
15. Waxed Linen Cording- RiverBendBranchStudio
16. Ten Silk Ribbon Knot Bundle- MarshaNealStudio

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Humpty Dumpty 2

Humpty DumptyTitle: Through the looking-glass and what Alice found there. Volume: 1902 of Through the Looking Glass and what Alice Found There, Lewis Carroll. Author: Lewis Carroll, Illustrated by: Peter Newell, Publisher: Harper & Brothers, 1902. Original: from the University of Michigan. Digitized: Dec 19, 2008, Length: 211 pages.

Peter Sheaf Hersey Newell March 5, 1862 – January 15, 1924, American artist and author, born in McDonough County, Illinois. Newell often illustrated the works of other authors, such as Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, John Kendrick Bangs, and Lewis Carroll.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King's horses and all the King's men
Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty in his place again."

This Image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1923 are copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published before 1923 ,in this case 1902, are now in the public domain.

This file is also in the public domain in countries that figure copyright from the date of death of the artist (post mortem auctoris in this case Peter Sheaf Hersey Newell March 5, 1862 – January 15, 1924, and that most commonly runs for a period of 50 to 70 years from December 31 of that year.

The Elephant in the Room

I wanted to get away from the birds this morning but one managed to sneak in ;)
Watercolor on paper. 6" x 8"

Another Look at Charlie Allen

Early in my correspondences with Barbara Bradley (who was then the retired head of the Illustration Dept. at the Academy of Art University in San Fransisco) we discussed the work of a mid-century illustrator from the West Coast named Charlie Allen. Bruce Hettema of P&H Creative had sent me a cropped scan of just the hands from the ad you see below and Barbara and I marveled at the quality of this amazing illustration.

Barbara mentioned that the original was in the Academy's collection - a gift from Patterson & Hall owner Chet Patterson. Barbara wrote: "[Its] an amazing illustration of hands holding oil. I bring it out when I want to show students what constitutes a REAL understanding of hand structure."

Not long after that I began corresponding with Charlie Allen and, with Bruce Hettema's generous assistance, featured Charlie on Today's Inspiration. Charlie enjoyed reminiscing about the mid-century period and began sending me scans from his 'morgue'. He'd send them untitled and quiz me on who I thought the artist was. After I correctly identified several in a row I think I passed some sort of test. Not long after that he agreed to begin a blog of his own, with me doing the posting of whatever scans and writing he felt like presenting each week. Many of you became regular readers of Charlie Allen's Blog until he concluded his postings in December of last year.

Today I just wanted to remind everyone about this magnificent illustrator (and wonderful human being) who very much deserves another look; my friend, Charlie Allen.

"From the git-go I enjoyed drawing."
Originally presented on September 18, 2007

"I was born in 1922 (85 this year) in Fresno, CA", writes Charles Allen. "From the git-go I enjoyed drawing. A couple of efforts, at age 9 when I was fascinated by comic strip artists, are enclosed."

"Like Chet Patterson of P&H (whom you've covered recently) I enlisted in the Army Air Force in 1942 while in college. Served for three and a half years as a pilot during WWII...but unlike Chet, shot down no enemy aircraft. Hard to do in an unarmed PBY Catalina in an air-sea rescue group, Pacific theatre. Main accomplishment, surviving."

"Returned home in 1946, finished college, got married, worked as an ad illustrator for the Fresno Bee, a McClatchy newspaper. Attended Art Center College in L.A. for a year, got a job in 1948 at Patterson & Hall in San Francisco as an illustrator, at the princely salary of $275 per month. In those days, a new car ran about $1,200 and a new home, $10,000 to $12,000, so all was in proportion."

"I learned all along the line...high school, college, Art Center, an ad agency job during college, the newspaper job, and a crash course at P&H in San Francisco, where competition with 'the best in the west' was very, very real. The 'crash course' was actually learning on the job...and in between jobs, practicing on samples. Busy times."

"One of the many reasons I decided to remain in the west with advertising illustration, instead of heading east and editorial illustration [was that] there were so many good illustrators back there, all wanting to do editorial. Advertising actually paid better, and if you could stand the deadlines and pace, almost as much fun. Well, sometimes as much!"

Patterson & Hall was a great learning place and launching pad. I worked for the first ten years at P&H offices in San Francisco, then moved out to my small home studio, mainly to avoid the two or more hours of commute each day."

"Over a roughly 45 year career, about two thirds of my work came through Patterson & Hall, the rest freelance, but P&H was always a loyal sales, support and promotional group over those years."

"I did no editorial or story commissions.....all corporate ads from ad agencies or direct with the company. I was impressed by all the good illustrators and tried to 'think' like Al Parker, Rockwell, Jon Whitcomb, Austin Briggs, etc. Found it way too tiring, and with short deadlines, just did what came naturally. That way you develop a style all your own."

* There's so much more... and the best place to discover it again (or for the first time) is at Charlie Allen's Blog.

*Addendum: Bruce Hettema just sent a note to inform me that today's post inspired him to write about his first experience working with Charlie on the P&H Creative Blog

* All of today's images can be found in my Charlie Allen Flickr set.

Create a Neck Cuff for your Art Bead

Sometime last summer, I began going tribal. I was very inspired by the National Geographic show and recorded all the past episodes of Going Tribal to watch several times. One of the details that caught and held my attention were the neck cuffs that were fashioned in rudimentary ways. The cuffs on the different tribes featured on the show had a common denominator in that they held a special charm or talisman that meant something to the wearer. Some of the neck cuffs had collections of several "charms", others were simple with one or two hanging in the center.
 A light bulb idea! What if a neck cuff could be hammered out to feature a special Art Bead? I'd never made a neck cuff before but I had already hammered out a heavy gauge bangle, how much harder could it be?

 I was surprised by a couple of things; 1 - You do not need a steel neck mandrel to curve the wire. Sweet! This saves you at least $60 bucks! And 2 - they are surprisingly comfortable to wear. In fact, they bring to the surface a wild feeling inside that has been smothered by years of proper society upbringing.

What you do need;
Bench block - or other hard surface to hammer the wire against, even wood could work.
Hammer - my favorite hammer to use was found in my grandpa's old tool chest.
Flexible measuring tape - something that measures over 18 inches would be most helpful.
Heavy Gauge Wire - Copper, brass or sterling silver, dead soft, 14 gauge keeps its shape very well after hammering. You will need to make sure the Art Bead will slide over the wire before curving the wire.
Flush cutters - Heavy duty wire cutters to cut through your 14 gauge wire
Chain nose pliers - you will need a good pair of wide, chain nose pliers to firmly grip the wire as you shape it.
Round nose pliers - optional, you do not need a perfect loop formed for your latch 
Medium jewelers file - I use a dremel with a sanding drum bit to save time and work but a medium rasp jewelers file is an inexpensive way to smooth the edges of your cut wire.
Sharpie pen - to mark measurements on the wire

Begin by measuring  your neck where you would like the neck cuff to lie. To create a neck cuff that latches, you will need to cut that measurement plus 3" from your heavy gauge wire. File the cut edges smooth with your jewelers file. Hold the file at an angle as you run its length down the cut edge of the ends.

To curve the wire into a rounded, oval neck cuff shape, hold the middle of the wire in your left hand and tap the hammer on the end of the wire over the bench block with a straight up and down motion. Gradually move the hammer up towards the middle of the wire as you gently move the left hand up. The wire will begin to curve in as you hammer.

Once you reach the middle of your wire, slide on the Art Bead and switch sides so you are holding the curved side in your left hand now and hammering the straight side against the block. Repeat the same motion as previously so this side of the wire curves in also. You can create a sharper bend in the middle of the neck cuff by pushing in on both sides of the ends.

Once the curve is to your liking, measure 1"  from one end of the curved wire, mark this measurement with a sharpie pen. Grip this mark with your round nose pliers and bend the end of the wire towards the middle of the neck cuff to form a curve. Press in with the chain nose pliers to complete the loop. This will be the side the latch hooks into.

The other side of the neck cuff can be curved in at 1" to form a simple latch. If you grip the latch in your chain nose pliers and turn it slightly to the side, it will easily slide into the curved loop, creating a secure clasp that will stay closed while the piece is being worn. The amazing thing is; you do not even feel the latch at the back of your neck!

My special clay Art Bead was a gift from the talented and most gracious Barbara Wukich, whom I would link you to but she does not sell online. It's special meaning is accented by the rattles inside the fired clay. This unique bead required a necklace that is as rustic and primitive but did not over power it. I choose to hold it in place on the neck cuff with strips of recycled sari silk and bound wire. A simple tassel of more silk, patina-ted chain and organic shaped bits of metal are hung next to the bead to add to it's wild, tribal charm.
Now I just need a place to wear my tribal neck cuff! I hope you are encouraged to hammer out your own neck cuff from these instructions, I think you will be surprised at just how easy it is.
Much Love & Respect,

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Workers Memorial Day Mary Harris "Mother" Jones

Workers Memorial Day Mary Harris 'Mother' JonesWorkers Memorial Day Mary Harris "Mother" Jones 1830(?)-1930 "Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living."

Public Domain: Materials created by the federal government are generally part of the public domain and may be used, reproduced and distributed without permission. Therefore, content on this Web site which is in the public domain may be used without the prior permission of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). However, such materials may not be used in a manner that implies any affiliation or endorsement by the DOL of your company, Web site or publication. You may properly credit public domain materials obtained from a DOL Web site to the U.S. Department of Labor and/or
Irish-born Mother Jones was a champion of the country's weakest and neediest during the period of America's great industrial growth. For countless workers she was both goad and inspiration in their struggles to organize for mutual protection. Her flaming rhetoric and fearless campaigning helped swell the ranks of the United Mine Workers who called her the Miners' Angel.

With the look of an angel and the tongue of a mule skinner, she tramped the land, venting her searing invective against the shame of child labor and those who exploited the working class. A magnificent scold, she was a ringing voice on behalf of workers and their families, a leader in the miners' colossal struggles in West Virginia, Colorado and Pennsylvania.

She met with Presidents, from McKinley to Coolidge, in support of her people, and suffered jailings, personal attacks, and unbelievable hardships for her efforts to ease their impoverished lives.

TEXT CREDIT: U.S. Department of Labor

Another Look at Ernest Chiriaka

Sad news arrived this morning that Ernest Chiriaka passed away yesterday, April 27, 2010, at age 96. His obituary is at David Saunders' Pulp Artists website.

This seemed like the right time to take another look at our previously presented series on the artist from 2006, which was made possible thanks to the generosity of David Saunders and Illustration magazine's Dan Zimmer...

Ernest Chiriaka

I always have a link in my sidebar to Dan Zimmer's Illustration magazine, but this week I really need to highlight this great publication because Dan has kindly given me permission to except the Chiriaka article from the 8th issue of Illustration (which you can still order!) written by Norm Saunders' son, David. Many thanks to Dan and I encourage everyone to consider getting a subscription to Illustration ( especially if you have a birthday coming up soon and your wife's not sure what to get you - are you reading this, Wendy? ;-)

The following text is © 2003 David Saunders:

Ernest Chiriacka was born Anastassios Kyriakakos in New York City on May 11, 1913, and lived at 42 Madison Street on the Lower East Side. To imagine the living conditions of this ghetto at the turn of the century, look at the heart-breaking photo-essay by Jacob Riis, “How the Other Half Lives,” which revealed the astonishing hardships of children growing up in these shamefully squalid tenement buildings. His parents, Portia and Herakles Kyriakakos, had emigrated from the mountain village of Xero Cambi in the Sparta region of Greece in 1907. Herakles was an educated young man who had studied to be a Greek Orthodox abbot, but could not adjust to the harsh reality of the bustling slums of New York, where the only jobs for a non-lingual immigrant were unskilled menial labor. Although Hercules performed his 12 heroic labors, Herakles refused to lower himself to work as a dishwasher, shoeshiner, or push-cart laborer. He changed his name to “Harry Chiriacka,” but made no further effort to become an American or learn English, and he fell into the languid despair of drink. Fortunately, his wife Portia was an industrious person who raised six children, supervising their public school educations as well as their attendance in Greek school to learn their native culture and language. Anastassios was their third child. He was called “Tasso” for short, which is pronounced “dah-so,” and is transliterated as “Darcy.”

This was part One of a week-long series origially presented in 2006. If you'd like to read the rest of the series, here are the links:

Chiriaka and "The Slicks"
Chiriaka: "A Serious Artist"
Chiriaka's esquire Girls
Chiriaka's Movie Poster art

*Also, be sure to check out UK Vintage's Ernest ("Darcy") Chiriaka Paperback Cover Gallery on Flickr

Findings Worth Finding - Safe Safety Pin Links

Have you ever made a bracelet or necklace using safety pins for that edgey look? Did they come apart or were a bit flimsy for your design? Ornamentea comes to the rescue with these brass curved safety pin links.

Still wonder how you'd use they wonderfully different findings? Well click on over to Ornamentea's Safety Pin Bracelet project sheet for inspiration and/or your next piece of jewelry!

(Thank you to Ornamentea for use of their photos.)

Written by ABS Editor Cindy Gimbrone, a lover of safety pins and all things wonderfully different!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Belsay Hall, Newcastle

The above image is one of 12 that are part of a new show that opens Saturday 1st May at Belsay Hall, Northumberland, UK. The show is titled Extraordinary Measures and features work by Ron Mueck, Tessa Farmer, Mat Collishaw and many others - all scattered around the gardens and buildings of Belsay, an English Heritage property.
My installations were placed around Belsay last summer and photographed for the show - visitors can now track down all the images around the grounds, placed where the installations once were. This is my first work outside of an urban area and takes on the theme of tourism and the joys of the day trip - so expect to find images of dodgy ice cream vans, alternative 'donkey' rides, toilet queues, depressing picnics, bored school kids and gift shop dramas. The show runs until 26th September 2010.


I finally have some new 25mm badge sets available - as well as an Inner City Snail 38mm badge. Clickety-click below for more details!

Another Look at Bob Peak

I know I said I was only going to present one new scan each day this week... but these Bob Peak illustrations for 7-Up from an early 1960s ad campaign are SO cool, I couldn't resist sharing a few.

Art directors and brand managers; why why why won't you invest yourselves in seeking out today's Bob Peaks and assigning them to major national ad campaigns like this? Why the same old photo solution as all your competitors again and again and again? Isn't the idea to stand out from the crowd and grab the public's attention?

Today's Inspiration isn't just for illustrators to learn about the history of their industry... my hope is always that our clients also will see potential in these examples for whatever they happen to be working on today. I know many of you read this blog... it would be interesting to get your perspective on this situation. I invite you to take a good long serious look and then leave a comment.

Bob Peak - "the envy of many an old hand"

By the time the ad below appeared in a Fredman-Chaite Studio promo pamphlet in January 1954, Bob Peak's art had already graced campaigns for Pall Mall, Dacron, Admiral radio, Philip Morris, Telechron, Celebrity Bra and United Steel.

At that point the young artist, just 27 years old, had been in New York for less than one year.

In his article in Illustration magazine #6, Thomas Peak, the artist's son, writes about his father's determination to make it in 'the big time'. Peak had just married his art school sweetheart, Lucille Tedesco, in 1952. The two had met and fallen in love while they were both attending Art Center School in Los Angeles.

Barbara Bradley, who attended Art Center School in the years just before Peak, remembers, "One of our scholarship jobs at Art Center was to re-pack portfolios that had been submitted for acceptance. [I was] on duty when we packed one that was so outstanding, we took note of the name. was Bob Peak’s. Even pre- Art Center, he packed everything into a piece. I still remember one about Hollywood or Hollywood Blvd... that was probably composite-like. And that became the Peak who so successfully did movie posters, packed with everything!"

But long before he would produce those well known iconic movie posters for Apocolypse Now, Roller Ball, Star Trek, Superman and so many other, this young Bob Peak was attempting to distinguish himself in the most competitive illustration market in America.

Tom Peak writes, "my dad spent three solid months assembling a sizeable portfolio of his work while my mother worked a full-time job to support them. He took the satchel with him when they left for New York City in 1953."

"Armed with little more than self-confidence and ambition when he arrived in New York, Bob was able to land a job at the [Fredman] Chaite Studios. Though he made very little money, he was working in the company of a number of other fine illustrators."

Its those early years of Bob Peak's career that most interest me, so this week let's look at the artist Fredman-Chaite described as the "youthful Bob Peak... envy of many an old hand."

* I have many people to thank for assisting me with this week's topic: Barbara Bradley, Charlie Allen, David Apatoff, Tom Watson for their advice, opinions, information and scans, and Dan Zimmer for allowing me to excerpt passages from Tom Peak's article in Illustration magazine, which are ©2003, 2008 by Tom Peak, Dan Zimmer and The Illustrated Press, Inc., and all artwork © The Estate of Robert Peak.

There is much, much more on the artist at Bob

* This was Part One of a previously presented series on Bob Peak. If you'd like to read the entire series, here's Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6

My Bob Peak Flickr set.